National Gazetteer (1868) - Brading
"BRADING, a parish in the liberty of East Medina, Isle of Wight, in the county of Southampton, 7 miles to the E. of Newport. It is situated on the west coast of the island, at the foot of Brading Down, aid contains Alverstone, formerly a chapelry, and the chapelries of Bembridge and Sundown, now independent of Brading. It is a very ancient town, and was formerly a place of some importance, being styled "the King's town of Berding." It had a market and a charter of incorporation before the reign of Edward VI., under which it is still governed by two bailiffs, a recorder, and 13 jurats. It is said to have once returned members to parliament. Brading Haven, at the head of which the town stands, is a mere marsh, 800 or 900 acres in extent, covered by the sea at high tide. Several attempts have been made to reclaim this tract from the sea by embanking it, the most important being that made by Sir Hugh Myddelton, in the reign of James I. The work cost about £7,000, but from various causes, chiefly from a high tide which made a breach in the bank, the attempt failed.
The inhabitants of Brading are chiefly employed in agricultural pursuits and in the fishery. There is a small ancient townhall, including a prison and a market-house. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Winchester, of the value of £250, in the patronage of the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge. The church, which is of larger size than usual in the island, is dedicated to St. Mary. It is itself, or it occupies the site of, the most ancient church in the Isle of Wight, and one of the oldest in the kingdom. It is said to have been founded in 704 by Bishop Wilfrid. It has two side chapels, one of which is the burial-place of the Oglanders, a very ancient family, settled here soon after the Norman Conquest. The church contains several ancient monuments. Legh Richmond was curate of Brading, and the "little Jane" of his story lies buried in this churchyard. In the church is the well-known epitaph, set to music by Callcott, beginning with the line, " Forgive, blest shade, the tributary tear."
There are a chapel belonging to the Independents, and National and British schools. Close to the village is Nunwell, the fine old mansion of the Oglanders, with rich and extensive woods, and sea-views from some of the higher grounds. A road leads from Brading over Bembridge Down to the Culver Cliff, a chalk range rising boldly from the sea to the height of 400 feet. At the entrance to Brading Haven is Bembridge Point, on which is a lighthouse. Sandown Fort, founded in the reign of Henry VIII., is about 2 miles to the S. of the town, on the coast of Sandown Bay. Fairs are held at Brading on the 1st May and the 21st September. The parish, which includes the ancient forest of Borthwood, extends over an area of 10,107 acres."
"ALVERSTONE, a village in the parish of Brading, liberty of East Medina, in the Isle of Wight, in county Hampshire, not far from Brading, and 2 miles E. of Newchurch. It was formerly a chapelry."
"LAKE, a village in the parish of Brading, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 6 miles S.E. of Newport. It is situated near Sandown Bay."
"NUNWELL, a seat in the parish of Brading, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 6 miles E. by S. of Newport. It is situated under Nunwell Down, and belongs to the Oglander family, which has been settled in the island for many generations."
"SANDOWN, (or Sandham), a district parish and watering-place in the parish of Brading, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 6 miles S. of Ryde, 6½ from Ventnor, and 8 S.E. of Newport. It is a station on the Isle of Wight railway. This place, which was only a quarter of a century ago a poor fishing village, is now a prosperous town, containing three first-class hotels and numerous marine villas and mansions. It is situated on the S. side of the island, occupying a gentle acclivity at the head of Sandown Bay, which stretches 5 miles from Dunnose to Culver Cliff, and commands varied views of sea and land. The bathing is considered peculiarly invigorating on account of the saltness of the seawater at this point, and the shore is smooth, firm, and free from shingle, rendering no artificial appliances requisite; there are, however, numerous bathing-machines on the beach, and a bath-house for hot and cold sea-baths. The shops are abundantly supplied, and there are numerous inns and lodging-houses.
At the W. end of the village are the barracks, at present occupied by the Isle of Wight militia, and a little to the E. stands Sandown Castle, built by Henry VIII., flanked by bastions and surrounded by a moat. It is still used as a fort, and commands the bay. The population in 1851 was 1,030, and in 1861 1,743. The strata in the vicinity consist of green sandstone and wealden clay, with iron pyrites in the cliffs and mottled pebbles resembling agate on the beach. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Winchester, value £200, in the patronage of the Church Patronage Society. The church, called Christ Church, was built in 1848, at a cost of £4,000. There are three Dissenting places of worship and a National school Near the village is Sandown Cottage, once the residence of John Wilkes, editor of the Northern Star, who set up a pillar here to his friend Churchill the poet."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]